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Albany is full of campaigning, as state budget deadline nears

Advocates for New Yorkers 60 years and older say millions more in state funding is needed to provide in-home services such as meal deliveries.
Officials from AARP's New York chapter and other organizations that deal with issues facing older residents are lobbying lawmakers in Albany on Tuesday to push for another $25 million in state funding. The groups say the funding will help New Yorkers age in their own homes rather than in costlier, taxpayer-funded nursing homes.

"Meals, delivery, transportation services, just those little things that really make the difference between someone being able to age in place or have to move into institutional care," said AARP State Director Beth Finkel.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed a $15 million increase in funding for in-home, community-based services such as transportation to medical appointments and help with daily activities.

According to the state Office of the Aging, about 3 million New Yorkers provide unpaid care to older family members and loved ones. Finkel said it is about dignity, and letting people age in the homes and communities they have built.

"You and me and all of us…either we've cared for a loved one, or one day we probably will be caring for a loved one," she said. "One day we're going to need someone to care for us."

Advocacy groups are also in Albany to push the Cuomo administration to ensure that New York State residents are fully counted in next year's federal census. The New York Immigration Coalition rallied Tuesday with lawmakers at the Capitol to urge the governor to include $40 million in census funding in his state budget proposal.

WXXI's Caitlin Whyte contributed to this story.

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